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Sh2.5bn released for famine after UN alert

The government will this week release Sh2.5 billion to fight hunger.

The announcement comes days after the United Nations issued an alert on drought in Kenya.

Devolution Cabinet Secretary Mwangi Kiunjuri said the cash is part of the Sh5 billion that the government set aside for the disaster this financial year.

Mr Kiunjuri, who was responding to the UN alert issued last Tuesday, said the National Drought Management Authority has been giving the ministry consistent reports and briefs about the hunger situation and officials are on top of things.

Using a new early warning system that predicts the availability of forage for animals in arid areas, the UN asked Kenya to brace itself for a worsening drought in 2017.

The UN Food and Agriculture Organisation noted that people and animals’ lives were at risk because they have not had a chance to recover from the drought of 2014 as rains were also poor this year and last year.

“We are aware the rains were not distributed evenly across the country, but the emergency measures that we put in place two months ago are still there,” Mr Kiunjuri said.

The government had set aside Sh5.1 billion to deal with drought and according to Mr Kiunjuri, the funds are enough to control the drought situation until February next year.

But in an interview with the Nation in Nyeri, the CS said the government still needs to allocate more funds if the drought will persist.

“The last disbursement was done last month. The second one is being done this week and therefore, we are not relaxing,” he said.

The meteorological department has warned that next year’s long rains are likely to be poor, with a delayed start and below average rainfall.

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